Serious hunger problem in Namibia

18 October 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Namibia has a serious hunger problem, a global report tracking the state of hunger worldwide has found.

In the 2021 Global Hunger Index, Namibia ranks 80th out of 116 countries.

The report, prepared by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, says Namibia is among the 37 countries with a serious hunger problem.

The index scores countries on a 100-point 'severity scale', where zero is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.

With a score of 20.2, Namibia suffers from a level of hunger that is “serious”, according to the report.

Namibia’s score has worsened since last year when it ranked 70th among 107 nations on the index and was categorised as having a moderate hunger problem.

At that stage the country scored 19.1 on the index.

Improvement

However, Namibia has managed to improve its score since 2010 when it stood at 30.9. In 2005 the country scored 28.4 and in 2000 Namibia's score was 25.3.

A total of 427 905 Namibians, or 20% of the population, experienced acute or severe food shortages last year.

The index ranks countries based on four key indicators: undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting.

According to the report, the proportion of undernourished people in Namibia stands at 19.8%. This has decreased from 29.6 since 2010. The prevalence of wasting in children under the age of five years has slightly decreased from 7.1% in 2010 to 6.7%.

The prevalence of stunting in children under five has also decreased slightly, from 22.7 in 2010 to 17.7% this year. The under-five mortality rate has decreased from 5.2% in 2012 to 4.2% in 2019.

Global picture

The report considers 155 million people considered acutely food insecure.

Current projections based on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) show that the world as a whole — and 47 countries in particular — will fail to achieve even low hunger by 2030.

Somalia has the highest level of hunger according to the 2021 GHI ranking — its GHI score of 50.8 is considered extremely alarming.

It is preceded by five countries with levels of hunger that are alarming — Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Yemen — and 31 countries that have serious levels of hunger.

The report says that conflict, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic— three of the most powerful and toxic forces driving hunger—threaten to wipe out any progress that has been made against hunger in recent years.

According to the report the consequences of climate change are becoming ever more apparent and costly, but the world has developed no fully effective mechanism to mitigate, much less reverse, it.

“And the Covid-19 pandemic, which has spiked in different parts of the world throughout 2020 and 2021, has shown just how vulnerable we are to global contagion and the associated health and economic consequences.”

World Food Day will be observed on Saturday in Walvis Bay in Namibia.